The Falstad Centre, Levanger, Norway

The Falstad Centre is the Norwegian Memorial and Human Rights Centre housing a large collection of photographs and artifacts from WWII and the initial period after the liberation.

I was there for a week (June 2013) with the REcall project, living in the refurbished former concentration camp. We were working with teams of young professional artists, architects and archeologists, questioning the conventions of the ‘memorial’ in relation to landscapes of terror.  This was a very poignant experience, visiting sites of murder, secret burial and the commandant’s house as well as the center’s museum.  With so much to digest it was perhaps not surprising that I was the only one interested in seeing the archives.  This however was the most moving and privileged experience, gently unwrapping objects produced by the prisoners of war; cigarette holders made from old toothbrushes, tin tobacco boxes engraved with the names of loved ones. Most moving of all,  a handkerchief stitched with found threads by one of the female prisoners.  Made as a Christmas present for her young son it shows her and her husband returning home.